The day required much patience. And even more reading material. Jury duty. I hadn't been summoned in 20-25 years. I was called only once while living in Pittsburgh. And wasn't chosen as a juror. Today was the first time I was summoned here in Lake Charles. I didn't relish the thought of serving as a juror. I don't do well sitting for extended periods in confined places. And, like everyone, "I'm too busy." So I hoped I wouldn't be chosen. But I went with an open mind, knowing it's a duty as a US citizen to serve, and if I had been chosen, I was willing.
Especially in the morning, one can't help but feel like a bit of an automaton. File in, sit down, fill out a form, listen to directions, get in line, take a break, sit down, wait. Get in line, sit, sit, answer questions, sit. I'm so hungry! And cold, too. Darn A/C, despite my sweater. Lunch! Then more of the same after lunch, until -- keep your fingers crossed -- they excuse me, finally, late in the afternoon.
Actually, some of the day held my interest. I learned a lot of new things, about things I've never thought about before, being that I don't watch Law and Order or CSI. I thought I learned a new word . . . sounded like waldeer. But I can't find it in any dictionary, and I'm sure I'm spelling it wrong. Lawyer friends, help me out. What is the process of jury selection called? And I learned all about presumption of innocence, burden of proof, credibility, reliability, "reasonable doubt but not all possible doubt," etc.
One thing was very different from my experience in Pittsburgh. In Pgh, prospective jurors were questioned individually and privately by the attorneys. Here, potential jurors are brought up in groups to the jury box and questioned together in front of the whole room, over 50 people. A bit intimidating. But I answered all the questions as honestly as I could.
The case will likely be an interesting one. A criminal case, attempted murder and armed robbery. We were asked many questions, but the one that set me apart and likely got me the first X by my name; How do you feel about guns? Well, I steadfastly cling to a most unpopular opinion down here regarding guns. In this land of avid hunters and the tightly embraced "right to bear arms," I don't like them. I don't own one. I won't have one in my home. And I was very clear on that. I didn't know a soul in the room. So what did I care. We were asked, "Do you own a gun?" And I think I was one of only a couple folks in the whole room who doesn't. But what most likely got my name decidedly crossed off the list was when I asked a question in regards to "reliability." I asked, "Knowing that this crime occured in 2004, and knowing that much of the prosecution's evidence will be eye witnesses, how can we know that these witnesses accurately recall the details, five years later?" "Hmm," I imagined the attorneys thinking. "Nope, not her."
Now all I have to do is wait for my $25.00 check.